Traveling safely to avoid COVID-19

Grant Boone
May 28, 2020

"Antibodies in some persons can be detected within the first week of illness onset", the CDC said.

Serologic test results should not be used to make decisions about returning persons to the workplace. Consistent with this observation, the Guidelines further note that in experiments involving primates, infection and subsequent development of antibodies resulted in protection from reinfection.

It is worth noting that the EEOC has issued guidance (discussed in more detail in our blog here) confirming that, for the duration of the direct threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic, employers may administer COVID-19 diagnostic tests to employees before they are permitted to enter the workplace. Thus, antibody test results may not definitively indicate the presence or absence of current or previous COVID-19 infection.

"Serologic test results should not be used to make decisions about grouping persons residing in or being admitted to congregate settings, such as schools, dormitories, or correctional facilities", said the CDC.

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The new CDC guidelines echo advice from groups such as the University of Minnesota, which cautions against using antibody tests to make policy decisions. In such instances, there could be false-positive test results.

The CDC explains why testing can be wrong so often.

"So the tests that we have now on the market". Whether you take public transit or go by auto, the CDC says there are ways to lower your risk of infection. "Don't tell you individually whether you have the neutralizing antibodies, whether you have the antibodies that can prevent you from getting an infection again", he said.

The same test would get much more accurate - less than 1 in 20 positive results would be false - in a population with 52% prevalence of antibodies, according to the CDC. The CDC also recommends avoiding pooled rides or rides where multiple passengers are picked up who are not in the same household.

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